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Photography in the Reopening

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The Sunday Series is published weekly to share inspiring stories about our creative partners.


Conor Doherty is fielding a lot of calls these days. The photographer’s clients have one thing in mind. What our new normal should “look” like.

 Can you create an image that is appropriate, sensitive and inspiring?

His answer: yes.

In this 11th edition of The Sunday Series, we dive into the power and necessity of imagery to inspire and lead us forward in the reopening.

Photography in the Reopening

Lobby, The Colonnade Hotel Boston. Photography by Conor Doherty. Production by 5th Street East. Branding + Art Direction by Gensler Lifestyle Brand.

Living Art Form

In January 2020, when we photographed the lobby at The Colonnade Hotel Boston (above), we had no idea where the world would be today.

That clean, open spaces would be a defining element for society’s reopening.

Yet, photographer Conor Doherty’s image captures the interior’s calm space.  A place to relax, rewind and retreat from the energy and excitement of Boston’s vibrant city life. That image tells a story.

“I approach each job with an open ear – what is the story you want to tell – and then I use light and everything I know about photography to capture an image that’s going to tell that story.”

Conor Doherty

Lifestyle & Fashion Photographer

Lifestyle photography by Conor Doherty for Inspir Carnegie Hill. Production by 5th Street East. Art Direction by Comm Creative.

Cue to Resume

Imagery will play a critical role in how we move forward. Acting as a cue for society to re-engage, re-enter and resume life, travel and interaction.

While Doherty doesn’t have all the answers, he is excited to create images that reflect a common experience in our new now.

To illustrate moments of connection with each other, to an environment or even oneself.

Photography by Conor Doherty for Foster Grant. Agency MMB. Production by 5th Street East.

New Challenges

He admits Covid presents some new challenges.

“Will people want to be shown a mirror, or will they want to see something aspirational or nostalgic?”

“Not just in photography but in motion and television shows. Will people be wearing masks in the new fall network shows? Or are we going to see this as temporary – something we aren’t going to address in our media?”

He adds, “It’s our job to find common experiences during this strange unease – those true moments that we can appreciate.”

Lifestyle photography by Conor Doherty for Hotel Saranac, Saranac Lake, New York. Production by 5th Street East. Art Direction by Javier Cortes, previously with Korn Design.

Photography by Conor Doherty for Yumi Kim Spring/Summer 2020.

Photography by Conor Doherty for BeBe Spring/Summer 2020.

Daily Inspiration

Doherty finds daily inspiration in his surroundings at home in a coastal fishing and lobster community on Massachusetts’s South Shore. He lives in an old 1800s Farm House with his wife Emily, a school teacher, and two young children, Killian and Wes.

“Every morning, if I can, I go down to the harbor and see the lobster boats and some of the lobstermen I know. I was down there this morning with the boys.”

The Doherty Home, an 1800s Farm House in Scituate, Massachusetts.

Killian Doherty

Wes Doherty

Navigating a New Normal

As to shooting photography in our new reality, Doherty is confident he can capture compelling imagery without compromising safety.

Back to the questions. Mostly technical in nature.

“I’ve been asked if I can shoot a campaign socially distant. If I can shoot outside and make it look like it’s in-studio lighting. If  a client can review images remotely.”

His answer is yes. Photography by nature is layered in technique. But it goes back to storytelling.

What story are we going to tell in the reopening?

“The thing about really good photography is that you are not even aware that it’s photography.”

Conor Doherty

Public Art Billboard Installation – “Bliss” by Conor Doherty, selected by 14×48, a New York-based public art non-profit. Bliss appeared as a billboard in the Bronx.
Lead image: Lifestyle Photography by Conor Doherty for Clippership Wharf, Boston. Branding + Art Direction by Doerr. Production by 5th Street East.

The Sunday Series is published weekly by 5th Street East to celebrate, highlight and share inspiring stories about our creative partners and collaborators

Stay Happy

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5th Street East